PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Pine Bluff city leaders have long wondered what to do with a hotel that's become an eyesore over the last few years— but this week, they found a solution.
The Pine Bluff Convention Center Executive Director Joseph McCorvey announced that the Courtyard by Marriott franchise would replace the current Plaza Hotel connected to the event center.
The new 125-room hotel will become one of the city's latest projects since the years, undoubtedly, have not been kind to the Plaza Hotel.
McCorvey said that the building's disrepair created many issues in the past.
"We've approached several different organizations, associations and many of them tell us we can't meet in your city," McCorvey described.
However, that's not going to happen for much longer.
"A brand new hotel facility makes a better situation for us," he added.
With an arena and auditorium that holds more than 9,000 people combined, McCorvey believes this will help attract visitors and bring in more revenue.
"We have basketball to be played in the area, we have the ballpark, so for a lot of those family-oriented tournaments, we'll be able to attract [families]," McCorvey said.
The current Plaza Hotel will be demolished, and a new structure that will bear the Marriott's name will be built in its place.
In all, McCorvey said that it will cost between $20 million and $22 million.
A developer group in the city known as "P3" will be talking with investment firms to finalize the details of how the project will be funded.
It's also important to note that the new building will be locally owned— Marriott will use a hotel group to manage the property.
For McCorvey, he's just happy that his nearly 5-year dream is closer to becoming reality.
"This is great for Pine Bluff [and] it's great for the convention center because we have been without a hotel for several years," McCorvey added.
The Marriott franchise is expected to manage the new hotel for 30 years.
If all agreements go according to plan, demolition could begin early next year.